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Around The World London Tabloid editor guilty

London
Tabloid editor guilty: Prime Minister David Cameron’s former communications chief Andy Coulson has been found guilty of conspiring to hack the cellphones of celebrities, politicians, crime victims, and even the royal family in a trial stemming from his earlier role as editor of the now defunct News of the World. Coulson left the tabloid in 2007, after a staffer and a private investigator hired by the paper were jailed for hacking phones, and a few months later became head of communications for Cameron’s Conservative Party. An embarrassed Cameron apologized this week for hiring Coulson, saying, “I am extremely sorry that I employed him; it was the wrong decision.” Another former editor, Rebekah Brooks, was cleared of all charges this week.

Paris
Roma youth targeted: A vigilante mob in a housing project outside the French capital beat a Roma boy nearly to death last week, and his family has fled its encampment. The 16-year-old, known only as Darius, was suspected of stealing from a poor immigrant family, and the rumor ignited simmering tensions between African immigrants and the Roma newcomers who had set up camp nearby. The boy is barely surviving on life support in a Paris hospital, but his family, fearful of the authorities, abandoned its camp and has not visited him. France has some 20,000 Roma—known pejoratively as Gypsies—and has failed to integrate the stigmatized ethnic minority into society.


Tijuana, Mexico
Cartel head nabbed: The suspected leader of the Tijuana drug cartel was arrested this week while watching a Mexico World Cup match on TV. Fernando Sánchez Arellano was captured after authorities received a tip that he would be in a certain house in the border city during the Mexico-Croatia game. His arrest is another damaging blow to the once important Tijuana cartel, whose top five leaders, all brothers, have been killed or captured in the past 12 years. Sánchez Arellano is a nephew of those men and was seen as the next generation’s leader. He’s not the only suspected drug lord to be brought low by soccer: Alleged methamphetamine trafficker José Díaz Barajas was arrested in Rio de Janeiro last week on his way to watch Mexico play Brazil.

La Paz, Bolivia
Counterculture clock: Leftist Bolivia has changed the clock on its Congress building to run toward the left, counterclockwise, instead of the right. Legislators ordered the numbers to be painted over and the clock retooled to run in reverse. Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said the “clock of the south” was intended to show Bolivians that they can question authority. “Who says that the clock always has to turn one way?” he said. “Why do we always have to obey? Why can’t we be creative?” Under President Evo Morales, an indigenous Aymara, Bolivia has been reviving indigenous culture and challenging practices imposed from the colonial era.

Warsaw
Dissing the U.S.: Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is in hot water after being caught on tape slamming the U.S.-Polish alliance as “worthless, even harmful because it gives Poland a false sense of security.” On the audiotape, leaked to Polish magazine Wprost, Sikorski says to a former government official, “The U.S. alliance is complete bulls---. We’ll get into a conflict with the Germans and the Russians, and we’ll think that everything is super because we gave the Americans a blowj--.” The Polish government had no comment, but Sikorski said the full transcript of the recording would show his comments were taken out of context. Sikorski is married to the American newspaper columnist Anne Applebaum.

São Paulo
No protests: The World Cup has been largely protest-free because Brazilian police are depriving the people of their right to demonstrate, Amnesty International said this week. Since the competition began, there has been no sign of the massive anti–World Cup demonstrations that drew hundreds of thousands of people over the past year, because police use rubber bullets and pepper spray to quickly disperse any crowd that isn’t made up of soccer fans. “We are issuing military police in São Paulo with a yellow card for attacking peaceful protesters,” said Amnesty. Some small demos have been allowed, but the few hundred protesters were outnumbered by riot police.

Kiev, Ukraine
Still shooting: A cease-fire in Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian rebels was in jeopardy this week after separatists shot down a Ukrainian helicopter, killing nine. “We see no signs that Russia is respecting its international commitments,” said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. NATO officials said member states were considering new sanctions against Russia if it does not pull its troops away from the Ukrainian border and encourage separatists to disarm. Russia may be listening: After a phone call with President Barack Obama this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the Russian legislature to rescind its March 1 resolution authorizing Russia to use force in Ukraine.

Abuja, Nigeria
Mall blast: Islamist militants are suspected in a bombing that killed at least 21 people at a shopping mall in the Nigerian capital this week. The explosion scattered body parts in the streets and set cars on fire. Suspicion centers on Boko Haram, the group that abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in April and has been spreading terror through bombings and kidnappings across northern Nigeria. The group wants to set up an Islamic state in Nigeria, a country split between a largely Muslim north and a mostly Christian south, and it has recently begun striking at Abuja. So far this year, some 2,000 people have been killed, and another 90 people were abducted just this week.

Yulin, China
Dog-meat fight: The annual dog-meat festival in the central Chinese town of Yulin was disrupted this week by an influx of animal-rights activists demanding that dog slaughterhouses be shut down. In the week ahead of the holiday, Chinese activists had numerous run-ins with butchers, and there were some cases of vendors torturing dogs to extort money from activists. Most years, some 10,000 dogs are killed and eaten during the summer solstice festival, but this year vendors said consumption dropped sharply. The traditional but unofficial festival may be on its way out as city authorities are no longer promoting it, apparently because the bad press it brings to Yulin outweighs the tourism bump.

Damascus, Syria
Chemical weapons gone: The final stockpile of Syrian chemical weapons left Syria this week, according to the U.N. group overseeing the weapons’ destruction. Under a deal brokered by Russia and the U.S., Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to turn over his chemical arms last year, after credible reports that his regime was using them on civilians. The U.N. said Syria was now rid of all the stockpiles that weapons inspectors were aware of. “Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict,” said Ahmet Uzumcu, chief of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.


Cairo
Reporters jailed: Egypt drew international condemnation this week for sentencing three Al Jazeera journalists to prison sentences of seven to 10 years. Peter Greste, one of Australia’s most famous foreign correspondents, Canadian reporter Mohamed Fahmy, and Egyptian reporter Baher Mohamed were convicted of collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood by reporting on the civil unrest that broke out after the army ousted President Mohammed Morsi last year. The trial was widely seen as a sham, as the prosecution offered no evidence of any inaccuracy in the men’s reporting. Egypt now has more than 16,000 political prisoners.

Khartoum, Sudan
Christian woman rearrested: A Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for apostasy was set free this week, only to be arrested and charged with fraud when she tried to leave the country using documents bearing her Christian name, not the Muslim name she was given at birth. U.S. officials said they were now trying to ensure that Meriam Ibrahim and her children could join her American husband, Daniel Wani, in the U.S. Born to a Christian mother, Ibrahim was raised a Christian after her Muslim father abandoned the family, but a sharia court in Sudan considered her a Muslim and last month convicted her of illegally renouncing her faith. An appeals court overturned the conviction this week following an international outcry, but Ibrahim now faces up to seven years in jail on the fraud charges.


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